The Lakers – Clippers rivalry has reached a new height this season with the new Laker roster not even coming close to meeting expectations, while the Clippers have far exceeded what any NBA fan has expected of them. Winning every game in December, the Clippers have shown the league that they may be championship contenders and they should not be taken lightly. While the Clippers have enjoyed this success, the Lakers have been plagued with injury and the inability to find out what works in order for this team to be successful. It is only January, but the game tonight is a very huge one for both teams.
With a revamped bench, the Clippers current roster have been too deep for most other teams to compete with. With guys like Jamal Crawford coming off of the bench, they currently rank first among NBA’s benches in points with 41.7 per game. Kobe Bryant has even been very pleased with the performance of Crawford stating that he should win the NBA’s sixth man of the year for his consistency. The Clippers recently went on a 17-game winning streak, which was the longest streak in franchise history and the best by any team in more than four years.
The Clippers have even caught the attention of Kobe Bryant. He believes that they are championship contenders and the real “showtime” team.
So why is a game against a 15-16 team in January important? Because they are still considered as the little brothers in Los Angeles. Despite the Lakers recent struggles, Los Angeles is dominantly Laker Land and at one point it seemed impossible for the Clippers to ever take over the city. Even with new superstars like Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, the clippers would never be able to offer what the Lakers have given their fans for many years, but perhaps that is beginning to change. The Lakers are continuing to struggle, while the Clippers are showing that they are one of the best teams in the NBA. A win over their “big brothers” tonight would be an amazing boost to their morale and fan base. They’ve lost two straight coming into this game so a third straight loss to the Lakers could prove to be damaging.
Oddly, the Lakers are currently the complete opposite of the Clippers. With one of the worst benches in the NBA combined with a bunch of other negative factors, the Lakers can’t seem to find a way to even make it over a .500 record. With the season nearing the half way mark, even some of the players are beginning to place that hand over the panic button. Steve Nash believes the Lakers are running out of time, while Kobe Bryant has openly criticized the team by calling them old and slow.
With Nash and Gasol back from injury, things need to turn around quickly. What better way to turn the season around than a dominant win over the rival Clippers? Defeating this Clipper team tonight would give the Lakers hope. The victory would prove that it is still early in the season and that there is still time for this Laker ship to sail in the right direction. Leaving Staples Center victorious would be a step towards the right direction and hopefully there won’t be any looking back. This game has the potential to positively or negatively affect both teams. Whatever happens tonight, the battle in Los Angeles should be a good one.